Samar climbers help
set new world record
By RICKY J. BAUTISTA
BORONGAN CITY – Out
of 8,000 climbers in the country who signed up for the trek, around
6,700 of them have successfully scaled 70 mountains marking the
country’s 113th Independence Day celebration on June 12, 2011, records
of the organizers revealed.
And among the 6,700
mountaineers, around 99 of them came from the three provinces of Samar
Island who likewise conquered the highness (with 470 meters above sea
level) of Mount Kapudlusan in Brgy. Del Pilar, Maydolong, Eastern
Acidre, president of the organizing Alliance of Filipino Mountaineers
Incorporated (FIMOInc.), said though they are still waiting for the
official pronouncement coming from the Guinness World Record (GWR)
Adjudicators in the Philippines, “we believe the record of 600
climbers set by
and Ireland has been replaced by our new records.”
Dubbed as the “Freedom
Climb 2011”, the third of its kind in the Philippines is an attempt to
break a Guinness World Record (Most people in an Ascent on Multiple
Mountains) and to set a new Guinness World Record Criterion on Most
people to Summit Multiple Mountains nationwide.
According to Benjie
Panaguiton, Area Coordinator for
said the 99 people who scaled Mt. Kapudlusan traversed the mountain
and river trails for at least 4-8 long hours of trekking from the
jump-off point to the base camp and to the summit peak.
The 23-man team of the
Samar Island Natural Park (SINP) led by Project Manager Manolito Ragub,
who also joined the record attempt, reported sightings of the rare
Philippine Eagle during their 3-day camping in the Borongan-Llorente
Closed Canopy Forest – the official “trek route” of the event.
The SINP along with
the Maydolong LGU and other officials of the province partly shared
resources to make the event successful.
Meanwhile, Rommel L.
Rutor of Centro Outdoors based in Catbalogan City who earlier endorsed
Mt. Huraw in San Jose de Buan as one of the venue facilitated the
gathering of other climbers from Catbalogan, Calbayog in Samar and
Catarman and Laoang in Northern Samar including the Tribu Hibatang,
Baktasi, Laoang Spelunkers, SFC in Catbalogan and other walk-in
Centro Outdoors is
noted in organizing similar events such as cave congresses, tour
packages and tourism promotions of
“What we actually want in joining the event is to help unite
mountaineers in the island and place Samar in the global maps,
enjoying the scenery is just a bonus, Rutor said.
Prior to the June 12
assault, the Centro Outdoors has been helping the BANOG in Eastern
Samar gather a wide numbers of participants for the
climb. They set up a group page wherein tips for the beginners, trash
management during climbs, “what-to-do” and the “what-to-bring” tips
can be accessed.
Upon arrival of
participants at the Eastern Samar Development Foundation (ESADEF)
office in Borongan, Panaguiton gave lectures on the Basic
Mountaineering Course (BMC) which reminds each participant their
duties and responsibilities during the trek.
“First time climbers
will have to make sure their bodies are conditioned for this kind of
activity,” Panaguiton said. Aside from physical preparations, the
mountaineers also had to have the right tools – backpacks, tents,
Important rules in
mountaineering are: “Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but
footprints and kill nothing but time”; no wearing of any kinds of
military gears and clothes, and observe trail and camping ethics.
Panaguiton, mountaineers are not allowed to use soap when mountain
climbing because soap has chemicals that may pollute the water sources
in the areas they visit. “Definitely, this is a soap-less climb,” he
mountaineers should also bring their own camping stoves with extra
butane or gas, cook set and eating utensils to make sure of their
Every climber should
also be physically fit and ensure good stamina and must prepare
first-aid kit medicines.
At exactly 8 o’clock
in the morning of June 11, participants with big backpacks, on board
private and public vehicles slowly appearing in front of the town’s
municipal building. They were given freebies such as their yellow
commemorative t-shirts, PVC and event ID’s, and final briefing.
After a short
inspirational message by the Maydolong mayor, the climbers on-board
two 6x6 trucks were transported to Brgy Del Pilar, Maydolong, the jump
off site, via snake bumpy roads crossing a river with a land travel
time of almost one and a half hour.
“Events like this
generate employment among locals. This also draws them nearer to the
environment and makes them understand the reason why we have to
protect it,” Floyd Ramos, president of BANOG said.
“In fact, we have
hired several guides and porters and paid them huge amount for 4 days.
The SINP also plans to organize them into a People’s Organization and
will train them in the coming weeks”, Ramos added.
On Independence Day,
June 12, 2011, the climbers hoisted the Philippine Flag, and at 9:00
AM sang the Philippine National Anthem simultaneous to other mountains
in the country sides.
After few briefing and
photo documentation, one by one, the climbers reached the summit of
Mt. Kapudlusan, measured to 470 meters above sea level.
Each climber who
reached the summit signed in the official master lists, submitted
their issued PVC ID for verification and was awarded a baller whose
print read, “Freedom Climber 2011 – GWR ID No. 339189 FIMOinc.”
From among the 99
climbers who trek long hours of hard and muddy terrain, a young boy
climber aged 3 or 4 also joined his father in scaling the summit. The
boy was considered a “guest” climber since organizers does not
encourage participant at his age to join the hike.
The boy was only known
as certain “Yama” whose father, a government employee and a
mountaineer, also one of the registered participants.
Everybody who sees the
boy “amazed, surprised and impressed with the boy’s stamina,” says
Roxy Joy Azura, the Tourism officer of Maydolong.
He even overtakes
other climbers during the hard and exhausting ascent to the summit.
The boy and his father, after descending from the summit did not took
even a short rest in the base camp as his father will report to office
the next morning, says Ms. Azura.
Mt. Kapudlusan’s peak
offers everyone a virgin canopy rain forest. It has also two
designated camping sites in between trails. Huge Lawaan and Balete
trees were also present in the area which is often covered in fog.
At the base camp,
one may take a side trip to the Nagkakalatun Natural Bridge or Canal,
Gold Panning Area (main livelihood of the farmers living in the area),
Waterfalls, Rapids, Old Growth Forests, all inside the SINP Core Zone.